The Kansas City Royals are in good shape entering the All-Star break, but like any contender, can improve. Is a reunion of sorts the best way to do it?
Not a lot has changed since we previewed what the Kansas City Royals might do at the trade deadline. For a team that managed to win 52 games before the All-Star break, the Royals starting pitching doesn’t intimidate anyone; thus, Kansas City comes into the discussion for any front of the rotation player rumored to be on the trading block.
But John Viril of KingsOfKauffman.com presented an interesting idea that hadn’t otherwise been tossed around much, if at all. Perhaps the Royals could bring back James Shields.
Viril’s argument makes a lot of sense if the Padres are, in fact, quietly shopping Shields. But why not take it one step further and bring Wil Myers back into the organization as well?
It certainly could be a case of easier said than done. It’s always challenging to come up with a deal to acquire two Major League-ready players without giving up the farm. But if San Diego, which went all in on trying to win now with its offseason moves and failed, is really ready to start over, then shouldn’t Myers be on the table as well?
Royals general manager Dayton Moore is a practical and patient man, but such a deal has to sound tempting. Bringing Shields and Myers back would be a legendary coup.
Remember, Myers was the fourth-rated prospect in the game and the key chip in the trade three years ago when the Royals sent him to Tampa Bay for Shields and Wade Davis.
He had a great rookie year with the Rays, then suffered through a severe sophomore slump last year before he was traded to San Diego. He’s rebounded somewhat this year with an OPS of .787 and five homers in 35 games before going on the disabled list to get a bone spur in his wrist fixed. Recent reports had his recovery going better than expected, with the possibility he could return later this month.
The Royals got two very good years out of Shields and a compensatory first-round draft pick when he signed with San Diego.
Now Myers and Shields could fill Royals’ needs in the second half, and could possibly be brought back a reasonable cost. The Padres would likely have to eat some of Shields’ big contract to move him. Myers is signed through 2015 and making less than $600,000 this year.
In some ways, it would be like winning the trade with Tampa Bay all over again.
Shields isn’t an ace at this point, but he’s certainly capable of being Kansas City’s best starter. Looking back at the past two years, he seems to have a positive influence on the Royals’ younger pitchers.
Myers was also at his best in the Kansas City organization and perhaps getting back to that comfortable setting would be beneficial. If he’s healthy in a few weeks, he could help replace the injured Alex Gordon in the Royals outfield. If he plays well, he could potentially be signed long term to fill the void in right field when Kansas City’s relationship with Alex Rios inevitably comes to an end after this season.
It’s not as though Moore and the Royals ever wanted to get rid of Myers, but they were willing to pay a high price to win right away. Now, giving up prospects for a young player who has shown he can play in the big leagues doesn’t seem like a huge gamble. If Myers doesn’t come back healthy or simply doesn’t play well, the Royals can cut their meager losses.
It would be a deal that would raise eyebrows given the history of everyone involved, but in reality it’s exactly the kind of low-key move Moore prefers. He’d be bringing in a pair of solid players he’s quite familiar with who might be able to help the team without a huge risk.
In a lot of ways, going after Shields and Myers is more of a typical Royals move than deals for higher-profile names such as Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels. There hasn’t been an indication that kind of deal is in the works other than speculation, but it seems like something to think about.